Scrapbook Journaling with Gmail

by | Productivity Advice | 16 comments

I‘ve been on the hunt for a couple of years now. I’ve been on the hunt to find a workable, fits-into-my-lifestyle solution to capture journaling.

I tried Evernote, but I didn’t like going into another app. I tried a small notebook, but I kept misplacing it. I tried to journal in the metadata of my photos, but I’m not usually processing photos when that memory is fresh. I tried a document, but I wasn’t always using a machine that could access it. I tried Twitter and Facebook, but always forgot to transfer those updates to a more secure place. I tried and tried.

And then today, I was thinking about the album I’m beginning for my daughter. It’s called “Dear Emily”. Many of her photos and stories will be in our regular family albums, but this will be one just for the little stories of her life, of her growing up with us.

One of the ideas I had considered, in my trials above, was the Dear.Sophie.Lee approach. But that would be yet another account to log into if I wanted to access those words for a scrapbook page.

And today it hit me.

I can send emails to myself with a subject line that could be a page title and a body that reads as a letter to Emily (my page journaling). Then I could use a Gmail filter to scan for “Dear Emily” so that each email would land in a special “folder” (labels in Gmail) for safe-keeping.

With this, I will have a repository for all the stories I want to tell about her, but I can scrap them on my own time. I will be able to document something she said or did anywhere I am – because anywhere I go (for better or worse), I’m never more than an arm’s reach from my email!

How to Use Gmail for Scrapbook Journaling

The following video explains exactly how to set up a filter in Gmail. You can tailor this approach to your own needs, including setting up nested labels for your various albums and projects.


How do you capture your journaling on-the-go?

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  1. Kate aka stinkydudette

    I use Oh Life, and that’s really working for me..

  2. Ronnie Crowley

    Have you tried the Momento app on your phone? It gathers your feeds from facebook and twitter into one place automatically so it does it without you thinking. You can even gather your pictures as well. Great app – then you can export.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Wow, cool! I didn’t realize Momento did that. Will have to check it out!

      • Caroline Brown

        just remember to back it up 😉 I lost a month’s worth of journaling because my toddler deleted all my apps *major sad face* fortunately I can remember what we were doing thanks to my tweets, facebook & photos.

  3. Nani

    I still do the notebook. I have a notebook that I keep with my big camera and it travels with me whenever the camera does. I also have a little on in my purse with my “party camera” so notes to go with the photos for journaling are always there.

  4. Alison

    I love this idea. I will definitly be thinking this through. I’ve been hqving the same thought process as you and wondering whatbjust might work. I use email the most so this may be it.

  5. Imperfectionist

    Have you thought about using oh life ? They email you every day and you shoot an email back with a daily update. It builds a simple, private blog online. Has been the only thing that has kept me journaling every day!

  6. connie

    BRILLIANT!! I just set up a Diary filter in yahoo and sent myself a message and it works perfectly! Thank you so much!! I have 4 kids (plus spouses), 13 grandchildren, not to mention my personal history and my 35-yr (and counting) marriage to Mr. Wonderful to scrap so I will get busy writing emails to myself!! Thanks for a great tip!!

  7. Christine N

    I also use OhLife journaling via my gmail account. Everything I’ve journaled through OhLife gets an “OhLife” label in my gmail so I can always go back and find my journaling to copy and paste to my blog or scrapbook page.

  8. Beckygtx

    What a great idea! I am going to try this for my blog too. Maybe it will help me keep up!

  9. Alan Pruitt

    There is a cute Google ad on TV (not to be confused with Google TV) in our market that shows a father typing cute Gmails to his baby daughter and capturing significant moments in words and pictures and videos of his daughter growing up. The thought being that she will someday take over the Gmail account and have a record of her childhood. Very well done ad.

    To protect your journal – please take the few moments that it takes to protect your private thoughts with Google Two-Step Verification. It’s not IF your Gmail account will be hacked, but WHEN.

    I also suggest paying for Managed Services for your email account (200GB for $50, up to 16TB) — so that you are a customer of Gmail instead of a pedestrian user — subject to the whims of a free-mium service (as great as) Google.

  10. Darryl Drury

    The method i use is to add a “+notes” in the Gmail address
    such as: – and use a filter within Gmail to filter it and to apply a yellow ‘Notes’ label.
    The rule is :
    Matches: to:(
    Do this: Star it, Apply label “Notes”, Never send it to Spam, Mark it as important.

  11. Miranda Wedekind

    What a great idea! I think this will work great. Good luck with it.

  12. Stephanie Medley-Rath

    I set-up a “dear sophie” account a few months ago and don’t use it much. I have the idea that I will share the email with family that might also want to send stories/letters to my daughter. You could always just email yourself and your daughter using your gmail account. Then you don’t have to login to the other account to access the journaling.

  13. Pege

    Ok, maybe I’m old fashioned AND paranoid. How do we know these will be kept private? Not that I would have anything THAT weird to write about, just wondering?



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